Help me, David Horowitz!

By David Mazel


Salon Staff
April 30, 2001 12:00PM (UTC)

Read the original story

In fact, what Mazel has done has proved my point: The Harvard Crimson and the Columbia Spectator are about as broad-minded, open and liberal (in the nonpartisan sense) as the school paper at Bob Jones U. What a commentary on the contemporary American university!

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-- David Horowitz

I wanted to write this letter in support of the article written by David Mazel. First, I am a student of his, and I am also the advertising manager for the South Coloradan at Adams State College in Alamosa, Colo. I was one of the people contacted by Mr. Horowitz to run his ad in our newspaper. After requesting him to send me the text of his ad, I read it and determined that no person on the campus of Adams State College would benefit from such a blatant and obviously inflammatory paid advertisement.

Let me first say that Mr. Horowitz, as an American citizen, is entitled to his beliefs, and I'm a firm believer in the Constitution. However, I feel that Mr. Horowitz has some obvious attention problems, because very few people in their right mind would attempt to place such a vile and sleazy message in a college newspaper. He placed his ad in those college newspapers for one obvious reason: He knew that he would receive no attention from the national media if he tried to place those ads in commercial newspapers. To Mr. Horowitz, I suggest that he find himself a new hobby.

At the South Coloradan, I reserve the right to refuse any advertisement that is submitted to me. There are some obvious reasons: libel, obscenity and taste. Mr. Horowitz's ad falls clearly into the latter. He clearly has a selfish political agenda, and he does not realize that whether people in this country support his position or not, there are rules of advertising, and unfortunately, my colleague at Cal-Berkeley didn't adhere to those rules that we all live and breathe by. I do sympathize with my colleague, though; the pressures put on him by the students of Cal-Berkeley have been pretty fierce. Every once in a great while, I face some similar pressures here. It's part of the job.

I personally use the utilitarian method to determine what ad content is acceptable. In this case, Mr. Horowitz's ad would have no value to anybody other than blatant racists. After one read through, I used my discretion and judgment, and informed Mr. Horowitz that his ad would not be acceptable to run in the South Coloradan.

David Mazel should be commended for his actions in trying to prove that at some schools, politics plays a major role in how the media is run. We are not bloodsucking leeches, but I think that the more Mr. Horowitzes we have in our society, the less we college students can have our chance to learn and contribute to this country.

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-- Eric Stinson

I think the most telling difference between the right-wing colleges (and I wholeheartedly agree with the appellation) and the elite institutions David Horowitz embarrassed is that the latter universities pride themselves as defenders of the intellectual tradition, of free speech and discourse.

On the other hand, nobody would suspect those Bible colleges of promoting free speech. Their rejection of the ad is meaningless -- there is no hypocrisy involved.

(Note: I'm pretty sure your God-is-an-abortionist ad would be rejected by the Crimson, our newspaper. Instead of trying to provoke a debate and change policy, the ad is plainly agitprop of its own right and really not worthy of publication.)

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What Mr. Horowitz was pointing out is the institutionalization of leftist opinions on campus. It is simply impossible to conduct a meaningful debate on campus. At Harvard (my college), the current brouhaha is over "living wages" for bottom-tier workers. Never mind the details, methods or "demands" of the student protestors -- it is difficult to publicly voice any objection. How can you oppose a "living wage"? Does that mean you advocate a "dying wage"? And yet, there is a huge rumbling of opposition among the student body to the protest. People are beginning to disagree with the notion that it is immoral to object to liberal/socialist opinions. This is not a left vs. right debate -- sure, some right wingers at religious schools are intolerant, but that's not the point. Conservative opinions on our supposedly intellectual campus are derided right off the bat, regardless of merit. For example, the majority of my peers thinks reparations for slavery are stupid and can back it up with solid arguments. Stupid, despite what those Harvard Law School professors say. And yet nobody has the guts, including myself, to publicly go to the mat against these guys. It's simply not worth the hellfire and brimstone to be lashed as a heartless "Republican," as if being Republican were some sort of brand of ignominy. Your opponents might even get the local or national media to jump on you as well, as a means of exerting pressure for you to be "moral." Acceptance of tactics such as these is the death of intelligent debate on campus.

There is an implicit passivity of conservatives after decades of rhetorical bashing on campus. The tragedy is, if these people don't stand up, then the religious right will. And does. And so the entire spectrum of conservatives is most vocally represented by these fanatics. Frankly, as a moderate conservative, I'm happy that they do. They can absorb the mindless bashing that students who live on a liberal campus cannot.

-- Hyun-Sup Byun

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Major props to David Mazel for his hilarious article detailing the hypocrisy of right wingers regarding the issue of free speech. It is now overtly obvious that what Horowitz has been toting as a free-speech issue is just another instance of his shameless self-promotion.

-- Adam DeFayette

What disingenuous bullshit David Mazel's attempt at a parody of Horowitz's "reparations" crusade is. Horowitz has never complained that universities merely disagreed with him, but that they were actively trying to silence him with intimidation and Gestapo tactics. The conservative colleges' polite "Sorry, we are not allowed to run that ..." letter is a far cry from "liberal" mobs breaking into college press rooms and stealing papers, putting up flyers that smear Horowitz and so on. Puh-lease. Mazel's piece wasn't even cute.

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-- Vincent Basehart


Salon Staff

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